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" That your lordships forbear to make requests for men to be made free by redemption, by whom and their issue and servants, the city is much filled.
“ That your lordships will command the mayor, &c. to consult of reasonable means, by restrayning excess of apprentices, by abridging the easy setting up of young men, without serving as journeymen, and the dissolution of good townes, by our running to fairs, in which case they must have double number of servants, that the over-peopling of London may be remedied.
“ May it please to pardon this new devise, to extend to the new building already made.
“ That her majesty will ordain an officer in the city, by her prerogative, called a Harbinger, for the plague.
“ This harbinger to have power to take up lodging in any of these new builded houses, to receive the infected of the plague, there to be received, lodged, and cherished, till they be whole.
“ A remedy for new buildings in gardens, where now are habitations, and many times incontinent acts, and the sale of mens children by privie contracts, &c. as Bridewell knoweth.
“ The city of London hath ever had, and now most meet it should have, their free and open walks in the fields about the city, and namely in Moorfields, and some other fields, where groundes have been enclosed for gardens, and new dwellings there builded.
“ Order may be given as in like case at sute of archers for shooting, now for wholesomness of the city, by commission out of the Chancery, that all those inclosures made within memory be laid open, as they were before the enclosure.”
It is an observation worthy of notice, that in former ages, the article of dress was restricted by law, the following, therefore, claims notice in this place:
“ Order for the Habit of Citizens, Anno 1588. " The custom for the citizens and officers thereof, was to go well habited, wearing some of their wealth upon their backs: about the middle of the reign of queen Elizabeth, the city was grown very rich, and now endeavoured to get
themselves eased of two statutes, made against the excess and inordinate use of apparel, the one of the twenty-fourth of Henry VIII. the other of the first and second of Philip and Mary, whereby the antient habit of the magistrates, would be restrained. The queen, perceiving the rigour of these acts, and how they contained overmuch strictness, by proclamation dated at Westminster, February sixteenth, in the nineteenth year of her reign, and by other orders more lately published, did in some part mitigate the same, yet the mitigation was not such as the same acts could with that mitigation be observed within her majesty's city and chamber of London, without violation of that decent order and conveniency that was by citizens, officers, and others, thought meet to be used and continued, who thought they were not of substance and value answerable by the rates limited by the book of subsidy; yet did hold place of such worshipful calling otherwise, as required some larger limitation than was generally prescribed by the statute and proclamation, wherefore Sir George Bond, mayor, in the month of April 1588, wrote a letter to the lords of the council. “ That forasmuch as they were desirous for some convenient and comely order, such as might stand with the honour of the queen, might be in London used and continued, which could not be without some further toleration, they thought good to present to the lords of the council a book, which they caused to be drawn, containing a certain limitation and order for apparel of citizens and officers of the city, in their several degrees and callings, and of their wives, which they prayed them by their honorable good means to her majesty, by public proclamation or otherwise to be allowed unto them, and that observing the same, they might not be impeached for breach of either of the said acts, by reason of wearing any apparel or stuff by the same book desired to be allowed them.” This request was the more necessary, because there were a great number of informers now a days running up and down to see who they were that brake those acts for apparel : and many of the citizens were, or were like to be informed against, for their appearance, and like to be grievously mo
lested by such informations, in divers of the queen’s courts, for offences against the said statute and proclamations, therefore the mayor, and in his name the city, besought the privy council to be a means unto the queen, to extend her favor so far, as to give order, that they might not be molested for any such offences past, and that some remedy, as aforesaid, might be had in their behalf for the future.”
Number of poor Householders, London, anno 1595. “ Great care was continually taken in the city for the poor. In the mayoralty of Sir Stephen Slany, December 1, 1595, there was taken the total number of all poor householders inhabiting within the several wards of the city and liberties thereof, who wanted relief at present: which was given up by the said mayor to the queen. The whole numher of these poor householders in the several wards, was 4132 (that is to say), in the ward of Aldersgate 241 Cornhill
035 Aldgate 132 Cripplegate
466 Bassishaw 050 Dowgate
080 Bread Street 083 Farringdon infra
232 Bishopgate 447 Farringdon extra
831 Billinsgate 018 Lyme-street
018 Bridge 032 Langborn
072 Broad Street 177 Portsoken
218 Candlewick Street 114 Queenhith
237 Cheap 029 Vintree
1.00 Coleman Street 117 Walbrook
060 Cordweyner Street 033
The deprivation of a monarch possessed of such vast qualifications as Elizabeth, was more a national calamity when it was understood by what means her successor wished to establish his government. Elizabeth had been frugal in mo. ney and honours; James was prodigal in both ; so that in aiming to gratify his needy dependants, he rendered nobility vile in the eyes of the nation; by debauching parlia. ments, and breaking his word, he so far irritated the subjects he had impoverished, that though he waded through a
checquered government of intrigue and discontent, and died in peace; a foundation for disaffection and rebellion was laid, which, when the superstructure burst, in the next reign, involved the sovereign and the kingdom in the most deplorable catastrophe.
After all the exhibition of pageantry had been disposed of on James's accession, the appearance of the plague rendered it necessary to issue a proclamation to suspend Bar tholomew Fair for 1604, as well as all others within fifty miles of London, to prevent the communication of in ection. The evil however was occasioned in a great measure by the stagnant air, arising from the narrowness of the streets. Proclamation followed proclamation, restricting the proprietors of decayed dwelling-houses and other premises, in rebuilding, to the identical limits formerly occupied; and all edifices reared in the city or suburbs, contrary to the tenor of the proclamation, were ordered to be demolished , but in defiance of prohibitory proclamations, the metropolis increased ; and although delinquents were prosecuted and fined, the building speculation continued, till it was rendered necessary, in consequence of the rapid decay of wooden structures, and the astonishing consumption of timber, to order “ that in future the fronts at least of all edifices should be of brick or stone; which would promote the farther view of decoration and embellishment, as well as additional security against fire.”
In 1607, the king having punctually discharged a debt of his own contracting with the city, as well as a former one incurred by the late queen, he was enabled to open a new loan to the amount of 63,0001.; and in consequence of the ready compliance with which the sum was given, he granted to the corporation an additional charter of confirmation, whereby their jurisdiction was extended over Duke's Place, St. Bartholomew the Greater and Less, Black and White Friars, and Cold Harbour. .
The city acquired in 1609 a still more splendid addition of power and property, but which was not immediately productive of the advantage it at first promised. Though the
reign of James is not rendered memorable by either brilliant successes, or disastrous events ; being a period of profound and uninterrupted peace, it proved of solid and substantial good to the kingdom. The settlement of Ireland was not the least of these benefits. Almost the whole province of Ulster in that kingdom having become forfeited to the crown, the king entertained the idea of establishing within it a colony of English protestants, and for the purpose of carrying this into execution, made a tender of the escheated lands to the city of London. This offer being taken into consideration, and serious national as well as individual advantages promising to be the result, it was resolved by a court of common council to send over four persons properly qualified to survey the province and make report. These were accompanied and assisted by Sir Thomas Philips, his majesty's surveyor, and, on their representation, the grant was accepted, and 20,0001. voted towards accomplishing the design. For the management of the business, a committee of six aldermen and eighteen commoners were to be annually chosen, of whom two should act as governor and deputy
But James being haunted at the apprehension of the plague's spreading from the city to Whitehall and to Greenwich, his two favourite residences, and the image of an overgrown capital, was sufficient to produce a new string of proclamations and prosecutions, on the subject of building in London and two miles round, which were as little regarded as those that had gone before. New edifices rose, the surveyors connived at the delinquency, or were bought off, and the penalty was very rarely inflicted.
Spitalfields now began to be covered with houses. Wapping, formerly a detached village, from the increase of trade gradually incroached along the brink of the river till it reached the Tower. A large pond in the vicinity of West Smithfield was filled up, and transformed into streets, by the names of Cow, Chick, Hosier, and other lanes. The extensive fields and gardens of the grand priory of St. John of Jerusalem, and of a convent to the north of ClerkenVOL. ). No. 7.